Nigeria’s Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) have attacked the Federal Government over what they described as ‘renationalisation’ of electricity firms.
They insisted that government, via the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) and Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), allegedly has a hand in the failure of the power sector by not “meeting extant guidelines and regulations.”
The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), an umbrella body of the DisCos, in a statement, claimed that government failed to fulfil a N100 billion subsidy and other privatisation promises made since 2013.
At least, five firms – Abuja DisCo, Benin DisCo, Ibadan DisCo, Kaduna and Kano DisCos – have fallen into the hands of banks they took credit from after being unable to break even eight years after licensing.
The prevailing situation, which comes few days after NERC announced a contract-based electricity market, stakeholders said the development might worsen the industry’s woes, pointing to an alleged breach by BPE and NERC.
Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, Sunday Oduntan, said the utility companies are deeply concerned about the “restructuring” of the five electricity distribution firms, adding that the move “is inconsistent with all the guidelines and processes necessary to comply with the framework of privatisation agreements and the rule of law.”
According to him, resultant outcome of the move has been an expropriation or backdoor renationalisation of the DisCos by the Federal Government.
He went on: “Such renationalisation or expropriation must be viewed through a historical context as necessary for a proper understanding of the performance challenges that the DisCos have been faced with since privatisation.
“Fundamentally, the basis of privatisation was flawed from the beginning, due to conditions that were not met by the Federal Government, while expecting the DisCos to meet their performance obligations. Not only were the investors short-changed because of insufficient and unreliable data that was provided by BPE to them during the privatisation process, but the government also committed to and failed to deliver on DisCos’ debt-free financial books, payment of Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDA) electricity debts and N100 billion subsidy.”
While it said the DisCos take responsibility for some issues, ANED stated that the government also contributed to the challenges. It said the government holds 40% stakes in the DisCos, has representatives on the boards that take operational decisions but the DisCos are blamed for the misalignment in the power sector.
“Expropriation or renationalisation, by itself, of the DisCos will not change the current bleak situation or outlook of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI),” ANED noted.
Niger Delta Youth Council Facilitates with Nigerians on the Occasion of World Youth Day
…reflects on the state of the nation
…calls for youth friendly policies
The Niger Delta Youth Council (NDYC), a pressure group devoted to youth empowerment and development in the Niger Delta has facilitated with the federal government and Nigerian youths as the world marks International Youth Day, a day set aside to celebrate youths all over the world and reflect on the challenges they face and ways to surmount them.
In a press release made available to journalists in Abuja by the National Coordinator, Engr. Jator Abido, the group expressed optimism that this year’s World Youth Day will avail Nigerian youths and government and avenue to brainstorm and find lasting solutions bedeviling the Nigerian youth especially in the area of unemployment and perennial insecurity that has hindered economic activities in many parts of the country.
“Today is an important date sets aside to celebrate International Youth Day. The importance of this annual celebration according to the United Nation (UN) is to among other things raise voices against any injustice or discrimination and deprivation around the globe against the youth. We as a pressure group want to use this opportunity to call attention to the alarming rate of unemployment which has risen to 35% in the third quarter of 2022 as well as insecurity which has brought to a halt economic activities in most parts of the country. It is our hope that government will act fast to end insecurity and reverse the ugly trend of unemployment in the country”, the statement noted.
The lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the group noted has far reaching implications on the future of Nigerian youths and if nothing is done about it, will endanger the mental and social capacity of youth, predisposing them to social crimes and agents of destabilization in the forth coming general elections
“The implication of this unwarranted strike is that for the past six months and counting, Nigerian youths have been idling away at home and the federal government has not considered the damage such failures portend. Not just that future leaders of Nigeria are idle but an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Criminal elements within the ruling class will quickly recruit and turn them to agents of destruction and crime as the 2023 general elections draw near. This must not be allowed to happen. The federal government must act fast to reverse this ticking time bomb from exploding” the statement urged.
The CSO equally charged the federal government to come out with policies that will encourage the participation of Nigerian youths in the downstream oil sector especially by actively using local artisans in line with local content policy of the federal government insisting that Nigerian youths especially those in the Niger Delta region have what it takes to actively transform the oil sector and end the sad phenomenon of exporting crude and importing refined products which is almost crumbling the economy.
“We are once again calling on the federal government on this occasion of International Youth Day to as a matter of national importance formulate policies which will make the local content law a more practical reality. Our youths are well skilled in oil exploration and even refining. Granting licenses to local artisans and modifying their technology will end the uneconomical policy of importing refined petroleum products at exorbitant rates at the expense of the naira. Such steps will also put an end to youth restiveness in the country and stimulate economic growth”, the statement added.
On the need to inaugurate the Niger Delta Development Commission’s (NDDC) Board, the CSO noted, it is long overdue and the federal government must use this occasion of the International Youth Day to respond to the yearnings of youths in the Niger Delta who are the first beneficiaries and sufferers of both good and bad policy choices in the region, arguing that, NDDC can not continue to run without a substantive Board.
“Mr. President Sir, we are calling on you to use your good office and cause the inauguration of the NDDC Board which was duly constituted but has since not being inaugurated because of the activities of saboteurs. This is not only unconstitutional but a slap on the faces of law abiding Niger Deltans who are looking forward to development massive in the region. Without a Board, corruption is rife in the Commission and the people who are supposed to be served are suffering because of the greed of a few politicians. If nothing is done to bring an end to this impunity, we’ll have no choice but to take up arms and fight for our rights”, the statement concluded.
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